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The 2024 Guide To LinkedIn For Businesses That Are New To The Platform

Unlock the power of LinkedIn advertising for B2B and B2C brands in 2024. Discover the benefits, targeting options, and ad formats available on the platform.

Published on

May 31, 2024

Written by

Sophie Fell




In 2024, there are plenty of myths to bust around LinkedIn advertising. However, the platform has evolved considerably in recent years and is now a must-have for B2B and B2C brands alike for both organic and paid media activity.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the benefits of advertising on LinkedIn for businesses of all shapes and sizes and within all industries - yep, including B2C!

Table of Contents

What is LinkedIn?

Is LinkedIn only for B2B brands?

Which targeting options are available on LinkedIn?

What ad formats are available on LinkedIn?

Is LinkedIn only good for lead generation?

Final Thoughts


Having recently become a Certified LinkedIn Marketing Insider, I recently learned that LinkedIn advertising goes a lot deeper than we might think! For B2B and B2C brands alike - more on that later - LinkedIn has a wide range of ad formats, marketing tools, and unique targeting options that separate them from other social media platforms.

So, with that said, let’s start with the basics: what is LinkedIn?

What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a business-focused social media platform that was initially founded in 2002 and launched in 2003. Today, LinkedIn has over 1 billion members in over 200 countries globally and, as of 2016, is owned by Microsoft. As of December 2023, there are 310 million active monthly users on the platform globally. 

Like other social networking platforms, LinkedIn members each have a unique feed full of content based on their interests, and from companies, connections, and groups that they follow. When a user engages with the content by reacting, commenting, or reading, the algorithm optimizes that user’s feed to show more content similar to this.

While LinkedIn is primarily business and recruitment-focused, its data shows that smartphones are responsible for about 57% of its traffic and that 80% of sponsored content engagement comes from mobile devices over laptops and desktops. 

Is LinkedIn only for B2B brands?

While LinkedIn by its very nature has a strong B2B audience, B2C brands can use the platform to generate engagement, leads, and other conversions. Ultimately, whether all users are business professionals or not, they’re also humans! 

Some B2C brands may find LinkedIn’s targeting options slightly restrictive when compared to the in-depth audience targeting options available on Meta, Google, or Microsoft, but there is ultimately a strong audience on the platform that shouldn’t be ignored. In fact, LinkedIn’s data shows that its “audience has 2x the buying power of an average web audience”, and that “brands have seen a 33% increase in purchase intent from ad exposure on LinkedIn.”

If you’re still unconvinced, below is a list of use cases for B2C brands on LinkedIn:

  • With so many touchpoints in the customer journey today, LinkedIn can help create trust and bolster authority for your brand
  • Advertising on LinkedIn can, in some cases, be cheaper than on Meta or other social media platforms due to lower volumes of competition
  • Your brand can foster and build relationships with suppliers, partners, and even potential investors to foster growth opportunities for your brand. We’ve found that this often works well for local businesses too, where LinkedIn groups, connections, and meet-ups can help to create a strong community of local brands
  • The targeting options can enable you to target an audience with higher levels of disposable income than other platforms
  • Your current customers can become brand ambassadors and advocates via LinkedIn by engaging with and sharing your organic content to their connections
  • You can create a virtual professional community among your employees, where they can share and engage with your content to their connections.

Whether you decide to create an organic-only or paid presence on LinkedIn, there is plenty of room for success for B2C brands on the platform.

Which targeting options are available on LinkedIn?

There is a wider range of targeting options available on LinkedIn than you might think. Unlike other social media platforms, the majority of targeting is based on data that LinkedIn members are incentivized to populate and keep up to date. This means that, when advertisers build audiences on LinkedIn, they’re likely to have a higher degree of accuracy (and therefore success) than on other social media platforms.

Importantly, you can upload your own data to LinkedIn to create Matched Audiences for targeting and retargeting purposes.  Such options include Contact Targeting, Company Targeting, and Retargeting.  As well as leveraging your own data, you can use LinkedIn to create custom audiences to target your ads towards using the below options.

Audience demographics

Age and gender

While you can target by age and gender, these are inferred attributes. Although a large majority of the audience targeting options are self-reported on LinkedIn, age and gender are inferred based on profile information such as first name and graduation year. Instead, it’s best to use options such as years of experience to find your ideal audience.

Location and language

The two core demographic targeting options are location (current or permanent) and profile language. 


When targeting by education, you can target those with certain degrees, field(s) of study, and member schools. For example, you might want to target people who attended a certain University or College.

Interests and traits

As well as core demographics, member interests, and traits can be targeted based on their engagement history with content or group interactions. 

Audience career and company attributes 

Beyond core demographics, LinkedIn is unique in its member career and company attributes that advertisers can leverage.

Job experience

This includes individual member information such as job title, job function, job seniority (entry-level to executive), and years of experience. You can also target member skills including self-reported skills as well as inferred skills based on job titles.

Company information

Arguably the largest and most unique targeting option to LinkedIn, company information allows advertisers to target members within these organizations. Options include categories such as company followers, company connections, company growth rates, company size, company revenue, and company industry. You can also target specific company names for brands who are embarking on Account-Based Marketing (ABM).

If you’re not sure where to start, consider your ICP. Which industry(ies) are your target audience likely to be in, which job titles or job seniorities are likely to be decision-makers, and where are they based? The answers to these questions will create a great starting point.

You can also use the AND-OR function to create your target audience. For example, you could target members with 10+ years of industry experience AND job seniorities of Director or Executive to narrow down the audience size, or extend the audience size by targeting members with 10+ years of industry experience OR a high-level job seniority.

The platform considers an audience size of 300,000 as a ‘healthy’ size and 30,000 as ‘niche’ and a minimum for success - however, you can run ads with much smaller audience sizes than this. To make a smaller audience size work for you, ensure that your creative and messaging is well-tailored to audience members.

What ad formats are available on LinkedIn?

While you may associate the typical single image or carousel ads with LinkedIn, the platform has a range of ad formats to choose from, with a wider range of placements than you might think.

Sponsored content ads

Single Image, Video, and Carousel ads appear in the middle of the feed as Sponsored Content. That means they’ll appear between the posts that your audience is reading on their feed each day - making them perfectly positioned for engagement.


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As well as the usual content types you’d expect to appear within the feed, Sponsored Content ads also include Event Ads, Document Ads, and Thought Leader Ads. 

Event Ads are designed to amplify your LinkedIn event - this feature can only be used for LinkedIn-based events -  maximizing interest and attendance. 

Document Ads are must-haves for lead generation or value exchange, allowing you to promote either gated or ungated content to your target audience. Document Ads are ideal for research pieces, industry insights, or whitepapers and can generate engagement and interest in your brand while (optionally) collecting valuable customer data.

Finally, Thought Leader Ads are created to help you amplify the voice of your brand’s leaders. Think of these akin to ‘boosted’ posts: your company’s thought leader(s) can share industry insights, information, and recent case studies; these can be boosted from the company page to generate engagement, consideration, and interest in your brand.


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Sponsored messaging ads

The inbox is a key place for LinkedIn users, with messages often accompanied by email notifications due to their importance. So, both conversation and message ads are a great pick for brands that want to speak directly to users at scale. Conversation ads are akin to a chatbot experience, with an original message sent accompanied by suggestions for replies that can be selected, taking away the effort in responding by recipients. 


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Message ads are similar to conversation ads, but are more of a mass-messaging route where recipients are free to respond as needed. The role of message ads is to ‘spark immediate action’, as opposed to starting a conversation. 


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Lead gen ads

As well as the more typical ad formats, LinkedIn’s native Lead Gen Forms are a must-have for businesses in need of prospective customer data. One key benefit of these forms is that they’re prepopulated using LinkedIn profile data, which means members can submit contact data and express interest in just a couple of clicks. LinkedIn lead gen ads can also be integrated into your current CRM or marketing automation program. What’s more, these ads can appear in a multitude of placements on LinkedIn, including within member inboxes via Messaging Ads.


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Text and dynamic ads

Appearing only in the right-rail of the feed, Text Ads, Spotlight Ads, and Follower Ads are small rectangle ads that use limited characters and a small placement. Text Ads simply use your brand’s logo, a 25-character headline, and a 75-character description to showcase your brand’s website to your target audience on a PPC (pay-per-click) basis.

Spotlight Ads are slightly different from Text Ads despite their similar placement, and contain additional room for text and a CTA button to encourage action from your target audience. 


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Finally, Follower Ads do what they say on the tin! If your goal is to increase the following on your company page, Follower Ads use the profile data of your audience to create dynamic content to encourage them to follow. Dynamic content options include statements such as “{firstname}, stay informed of industry news and trends” or “{firstname}, grow your career by following {companyname} and use the member’s profile picture next to your brand’s logo.


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Is LinkedIn only good for lead generation?

As you can tell by the range of ad formats available, LinkedIn can be used as a full-funnel channel within your marketing efforts. In fact, LinkedIn suggests a budget split of 50/50 between Awareness and Conversion for B2B brands and 60/40 for B2C brands.

LinkedIn For Awareness

For awareness-driving activity, LinkedIn suggests using custom audiences and creating a target audience made up of function, seniority, interests, and member skills to create a broad, yet targeted, audience. Combine this broad audience with content formats such as Sponsored Content and Text or Dynamic Ads for a winning awareness campaign!

LinkedIn For Consideration

To bolster consideration among your target audience, LinkedIn suggests creating an audience based on those who engage with your awareness-driving content. Narrow your audience for consideration by targeting job titles and industries, and using Sponsored Content formats such as Video to show up in-feed as well as Thought Leader Ads to highlight your brand’s expertise. 

At the consideration stage, you can begin to use your customer data lists to grow consideration for your brand and its products or services.

LinkedIn For Conversion

For conversion, LinkedIn suggests utilizing uploaded lists, re-engaging with those who may have signed up for your newsletter or email lists - subject to privacy regulations - and creating dynamic retargeting ads to encourage those who have abandoned their carts to return.

Strong ad formats for conversion on LinkedIn include Lead Gen Forms, (gated) Document Ads, and Conversational Ads to drive action.

Final Thoughts

In summary, LinkedIn and the LinkedIn Ads platform have come a long way in recent years. No longer is LinkedIn just a haven for B2B brands to find decision-makers; when used properly, LinkedIn is a must-have within the marketing mix for B2C brands in 2024.

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